Thursday, April 29, 2010

Boiling point (or, If it were the other way around)

The opening sentence in a recent report from the Associated Press made a convoluted situation more clear: "The frustration had been building for years in Arizona with every drug-related kidnapping, every home invasion, every 'safe house' discovered crammed with illegal immigrants from Mexico."

The murder last month of an Arizona rancher by an illegal alien connected to the Mexican drug trade renewed concerns that the violence south of the border would yet again spill onto American soil.  Additionally, election year anxieties from both Governor Jan Brewer and Senator John McCain per an increasingly restless Copper State electorate proved the deciding factor in the passage of Arizona Immigration Law SB 1070, also known as the more catchy Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act.

The dismay felt by the majority of Arizonians is not without merit, although Princeton political scientist Douglas Massey (a noted Liberal) said that the number of illegal immigrants has dropped by 100,000 in Arizona in just the last year.  The total has also fallen from 12.6 million nationally in 2008 to 10.8 million in 2009.  Still, Rasmussen stated yesterday that "76% [of Arizona residents] say it is more important to gain control of the border than it is to legalize the status of undocumented workers.  Only 19% believe it is more important to legalize the status of undocumented workers already in the country.  These views, too, are consistent with national preferences." [emphasis added]

Despite efforts to explain that the bill does not constitute racial profiling, President Obama nevertheless referred to SB 1070 as "misguided," adding his belief that the bill would "undermine basic notions of fairness that we cherish as Americans, as well as the trust between police and our communities that is so crucial to keeping us safe."

Nicely said, as usual.  But considering that Obama is from the new school of social justice (i.e., revenge), it is safe to assume that the current administration -- not so much unlike the previous one -- never intended to act upon the border situation in any case.  And for the doubters, do not forget that Obama began his meteoric rise in a city that named one of its centers of education as Social Justice High School (3120 South Kostner Avenue, Chicago, IL 60623; Tel: 773-535-4300).

Capital Hill has treated this issue like a political hot potato for years -- mostly from a concern of being labeled, falsely or otherwise.  Thus because a half-million illegal immigrants dropping anchor in a single State barely registered on anyone's radar (including Senator John McCain's), Arizona lawmakers were essentially forced to do something.

Anyone naive enough to think that Mexican authorities, if placed in a similar position, would do anything less than what Arizona legislators set out to accomplish should consider the position of the ordinary citizen torn between taking matters into their own hands or supporting those who play politics with national security by pandering to the seemingly downtrodden while demonizing the innocent and politicizing the situation altogether.

While Al Sharpton is promising to protest against SB 1070, it is interesting to note the peaceful protests of the oft-maligned Tea Parties in stark contrast to the violence spawned by a single pro-illegal immigrant rally in Phoenix just the other day.  As if we are being told that America is under some moral obligation to swing the doors wide open, one might also assume the Mexican populace would be just as tolerant if such an issue was turned the other way around.


Monday, April 26, 2010

The national disconnect

Provided the current administration maintains the Far Left ideological path that a considerable percentage of those who voted for Barack Obama did not anticipate, today marks 1,000 days until BHO leaves the White House.  And yet, despite this momentous future occasion, most of my political meditations at present center upon FOX News anchor Sean Hannity.

Some of the Republican faithful will have to forgive those of us who aren't doing cartwheels over the purported list of presidential contenders, but the Right Wing intelligencia -- as compared to the mob mentality of their Leftist counterparts -- is indeed strong enough to sustain criticisms from its own.  Although the purveyor of this humble blog is among the most reluctant GOP adherents you may ever meet, The Eccentric Conservative must take issue with one who, at the very least, is not afraid to throwdown with adversaries that have never represented a legitimate political alternative for those who believe in the Constitution as intensely as they believe in the Holy Bible.

Proclaiming to be "burned out" or "sick and tired" of both parties has become trendy (however warranted), to the point that some end up claiming to be Libertarian -- which comes from a wish to think and act outside of the unremitting Republican vs. Democrat box -- without knowing what the third party label fully entails.  Times such as this usually spawn an uprising by the minority party, but something is different now.

As politicians and their like-minded advocates in the media continue the chicanery for which they are increasingly scorned, the American electorate has become more than "burned out."  The people are jaded, more cynical than ever, increasingly unafraid of labels, and yearn for a tangible kind of change that both transcend mere skin color and does not include taking the United States down a path that will eventually have this country, for whom God undeniably shed His grace, mirroring portions of Europe ... or worse.

This is the arena in which Republicans typically capitalize, but they have floundered thus far.  We will know more by the November midterm elections, but for now it seems the Right is struggling to find its way.  Politicians will do what they always do, and that may never change, but media personalities may offer a more comprehensive perspective into this ever-growing animal.

Sean Hannity, for example, labeling the national fiscal crunch as "the Obama recession" before the man had taken the oath of office clearly exceeded the bounds of partisan hackery, but challenging Obama's "man of the people" mantra when a tape surfaced of the future president ordering Grey Poupon on his sandwich was possibly worse.  Instances such as these, of which there exist many, have become Hannity's chief impediment and they do nothing to help his cause.

Volumes have been written about the Left Wing media, and their tactics are reprehensible.  Keith Olbermann, Roland Martin, and Chris Matthews make some of us angry just by appearing on the television screen.  Yet the Dems will continue to succeed if the Right only continues to offer comparable tactics and diluted versions of what is already being offered by the Left.  Ultimately the choice is theirs.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Sunday's Quote: Carpe noctem

I've been something of a night owl since my earliest days of college when I was allowed (per my "legal adult" status) to stay up past 10:00 p.m. for the first time.  Sheltered child or not, my new found freedom quickly became an abused privilege.

By age 20, the oncoming threat of an early class at Fogelman with an instructor who had less than a full grasp of our native tongue never once stopped me from staying out past 3:00 a.m. during the week.  So I suppose it's little wonder that my occupation over the previous five years doesn't get started until well after the Sun has set.

Entrained circadian rhythms became the main side effect of many late nights and early mornings that go back nearly a decade and a half.  Yet the opportunity afforded by these odd hours, if only to think and process a considerable variety of thoughts, has proven a blessing in disguise that has led, in part, to posts like the one being read right now.

Even when not at work, maintaining these hours in my personal life also allows for the embellishment of an increasing desire for aloneness.  Although I am anything but a hermit, I have become, nevertheless, an undependable social commitment with those for whom I was once automatic.  Instead of showing up as expected, I am now more likely to jump in my ride with a fully charged iPod and drive for hours, oftentimes ending up in different counties and even States (Arkansas and Mississippi).  Perhaps the quotes below explain why.

"When from our better selves we have too long
Been parted by the hurrying world, and droop,
Sick of its business, of its pleasures tired,
How gracious, how benign is Solitude."
-- from the fourth chapter of William Wordsworth's "The Prelude"

"Solitude offers a double advantage to the thinker: the first in being with himself, the second in not being with others."
-- François-Marie Arouet (1694-1778), French writer and philosopher better known by the pen name, Voltaire

Seize the night indeed.

("Unsilent Night" © Dallas Observer, December 2009)

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Between Faith and Reason

From something I read earlier today...

"An astronaut and brain surgeon were discussing religion.  The brain surgeon was Christian but the astronaut was not.

Astronaut: 'I've been out in space many times, but I've never seen God or angels.'

Brain Surgeon: 'I've operated on many clever brains, but I've never seen a single thought.'"

Friday, April 23, 2010

On This Day in History: April 23

1635: The first public school in the United States, Boston Latin School, is founded in Boston, Massachusetts.  In 2007 the school was named one of the top twenty high-schools in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.

1910: Theodore Roosevelt made his "The Man in the Arena" speech at the University of Paris in France.  Later re-printed in his book Citizenship in a Republic, a notable portion was spoken by our 26th President as follows --

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat."

1948: In a key battle, a major port in Israel called Haifa is captured from Arab forces during this particular Arab-Israeli War (of which there have been at least six).  Israel's decisive victory 11 months later led to the 1949 Armistice Agreements that established boundaries between Israel and the West Bank.  "The Green Line," as it was called, would hold for 18 years.

1985: Coca-Cola releases the ill-fated "New Coke."  After a promising start, public response becomes acutely negative.  In fact many Southerners who consider the drink a part of their regional identity viewed Coca-Cola's decision to change the flavor as another surrender to the Yankees.  Ultimately the original formula is returned to the market in less than 3 months.

1988: Pink Floyd's album, The Dark Side of the Moon, leaves the charts for the first time after spending a record of 741 consecutive weeks (over 14 years) on the Billboard 200.

1997: Attackers armed with knives, sabers, and guns killed 42 men, women, and children in the Algerian village of Omaria.  One report told of a pregnant woman whose unborn baby was literally ripped from her body and hacked apart.  Called "Islamic terrorists" by the U.S. State Department, these like-minded aggressors were responsible for 13 declared massacres in Algeria for the year.

2009: A gamma ray burst, labeled "GRB 090423," is observed for 10 seconds near the constellation Leo by the Swift Gamma-Ray Burst Mission satellite.  To date over 500 GRBs have been detected, but the first one is still recognized as both the most distant object of any kind and the oldest known object in the universe.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Iconic Shot: When it's love, it lasts forever

Despite an age gap of more than 60 years, billionaire oil tycoon James Howard Marshall II married former stripper and Playboy model Anna Nicole Smith on June 27, 1994.  Marshall died 13 months later.

Ironically the battle waged between Marshall's eldest son, Everett Pierce Marshall, and the widowed Anna Nicole Smith for the Marshall patriarch's $1.6 billion estate remains unresolved, to this day, despite the unexpected deaths of both Marshall's son (d. 2006) and Anna Nicole Smith (d. 2007) herself.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

More from the persecution tip

Not long after Israel's victory over Egypt, Iraq and Jordan in the Six-Day War -- 20 years after Israel had defeated Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Syria in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War -- philosopher Eric Hoffer wrote an op-ed in response to the antisemitism he noticed throughout the world.  Some 42 years later, Hoffer's sentiment not only rings true today, but his words also back Biblical prophecy.


by Eric Hoffer
Los Angeles Times; May 26, 1968

The Jews are a peculiar people: things permitted to other nations are forbidden to the Jews.

Other nations drive out thousands, even millions of people and there is no refugee problem.  Russia did it, Poland and Czechoslovakia did it, Turkey threw out a million Greeks, and Algeria a million Frenchman.  Indonesia threw out heaven knows how many Chinese -- and no one says a word about refugees.

But in the case of Israel, the displaced Arabs have become eternal refugees. Everyone insists that Israel must take back every single Arab.  Arnold Toynbee calls the displacement of the Arabs an atrocity greater than any committed by the Nazis.

Other nations when victorious on the battlefield dictate peace terms.  But when Israel is victorious it must sue for peace.  Everyone expects the Jews to be the only real Christians in this world.

Other nations when they are defeated survive and recover, but should Israel be defeated it would be destroyed.  Had Nasser triumphed last June he would have wiped Israel off the map, and no one would have lifted a finger to save the Jews.

No commitment to the Jews by any government, including our own, is worth the paper it is written on.  There is a cry of outrage all over the world when people die in Vietnam or when two Blacks are executed in Rhodesia.  But when Hitler slaughtered Jews no one remonstrated with him.

The Swedes, who are ready to break off diplomatic relations with America because of what we do in Vietnam, did not let out a peep when Hitler was slaughtering Jews.  They sent Hitler choice iron ore, and ball bearings, and serviced his troop trains to Norway.

Yet at this moment Israel is our only reliable and unconditional ally.  We can rely more on Israel than Israel can rely on us.  And one has only to imagine what would have happened last summer had the Arabs and their Russian backers won the war, to realize how vital the survival of Israel is to America and the West in general.

I have a premonition that will not leave me; as it goes with Israel so will it go with all of us.

Should Israel perish the holocaust will be upon us.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Make no mistake, persecution of Christians is not getting better

The pain in the lower portion of my jaw has lessened a bit, so I thought expanding on a March 11 post about the violence our Christian brothers and sisters face around the world would be in order.

We have it pretty good in America.  The principles in the Holy Bible provide the foundation of all that makes our nation the envy of the planet, and some people hate that -- even those who benefit most from the brilliant foresight of the Founding Fathers (and their protagonists).

Yeah Liberal, I'm talking to you.

Because we tend to forget about what our fellow Christians face daily throughout the world, I have pasted below another link to a story that should serve as a stark reminder in regard to what our Islamic counterparts, when left to their own devices, are truly all about.

Monday, April 19, 2010

So what happened to Sunday's Quote?

Wisdom tooth issues, which should have been taken care of a couple of months ago, has me in the doldrums once again.  I can barely hold my head up right now, so I'm laying low until I get better.

Friday, April 16, 2010

America's Most Unusual and Politically Correct College Courses

I'm currently working on piece tentatively entitled, "Only a Liberal can think that," and an offering from the Los Angeles Times I recently rediscovered only confirms my case.  Listed below are just some of the college courses that could only arise from the Left Wing:

* "Taking Marx Seriously: Should Marx be given another chance?" -- Amherst College

* "The Phallus" -- Occidental College

* "Sex Change City: Theorizing History in Genderqueer San Francisco" -- University of California, Berkeley

* "Queer Musicology" -- University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)

* "Border Crossings, Borderlands: Transnational Feminist Perspectives on Immigration" -- University of Washington

* "Adultery Novel" -- University of Pennsylvania

* "Drag: Theories of Transgenderism and Performance" -- Hollins University

* "Nonviolent Responses to Terrorism" -- Swarthmore College

* "Sex, Rugs, Salt, & Coal" -- Cornell University

* "Lesbian Pulp Fiction" -- Hollins University

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Maxine sums up the health care bill

"Let me get this straight.  We're going to be gifted with a health care plan written by a committee whose chairman says he doesn't understand it, passed by a Congress that hasn't read it but exempts themselves from it, to be signed by a president who also hasn't read it and who smokes, with funding administered by a treasury chief who didn't pay his taxes, to be overseen by a surgeon general who is obese, and financed by a country that's broke.

What the hell could possibly go wrong?"

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Predictable in all his ways

I suppose this falls beneath the parameters of the most recent "Sunday's Quote"...

A few days after August National chairman Billy Payne criticized Tiger Woods for his off-the-course behavior, particularly in regard to how Eldrick's younger fans might react, Charles Barkley offered the following rebuttal:

"Then you got this punk ass Billy Payne who goes on TV yesterday.  First of all, he ain't told his kids to be like no Tiger Woods.  Let's quit kidding ourselves.  He ain't told his grandkids and kids to be like Tiger Woods.  And for him to get on there and act like he's old Uncle Tom, he's the master on the plantation, that pissed me off.  And I wish somebody would just walk up to him and punch him in the face."

Barkley should be reminded that the title character in Harriet Beecher Stowe's all-time classic was Black, not White.  In fact the premise of Stowe's novel was intended as an argument against slavery.  It was years later in the adaptations that followed in which the original perception was altered substantially, often rendering Tom as a subservient race traitor.

But then, I doubt any of that matters to Chuck.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Sunday's Quote: Confederate History Month and, of course, race

April is Confederate History Month, and this year it has drawn more attention than usual.  A couple of days ago, President Obama rebuked Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell for leaving any mention of slavery out of his official proclamation, and earlier today the always entertaining Roland Martin labeled the Confederate soldier as a "domestic terrorist."

Martin exclaimed that the present-day defenders of the Confederacy "sound eerily similar to what we hear today from Muslim extremists who have pledged their lives to defend the honor of Allah and to defeat the infidels of the West."  He added, "If a Confederate soldier was merely doing his job in defending his homeland, honor and heritage, what are we to say about young Muslim radicals who say the exact same thing as their rationale for strapping bombs on their bodies and blowing up cafes and buildings?"

Astonishing, but such comments are to be expected from an individual who once compared the challengers of Obama's citizenship to Holocaust deniers.

I was among the nearly 800 people who offered a rebuttal to the Christian Science Monitor story (via about Governor McDonnell.  In my brief offering, I pondered why such a vast gathering of mostly underprivileged and non-slave-holding Southerners would form a volunteer army to battle against their brethren of the North while knowingly outnumbered, under-resourced and altogether unprepared to face a logistically superior opponent in the name of maintaining a slavery establishment that was perpetuated by a mere 6% of the Confederate populace.

My somewhat facetious, yet completely factual piece earned 10 "thumbs up," one "thumbs down," and a couple of nice comments that were on par with the considerable majority of impassioned, Southern-friendly comments.  Evidently there are more of us than I originally thought.

In light of the unyielding racial context that appears to envelop, if not dominate, every imaginable social, political, historical, religious and philosophical issue, I believe a recent quote sums up the present state of affairs:

"How Orwellian that the most racist members of American society, who built entire careers of fabricating evidence and defaming opponents -- an Al Sharpton, for example -- have become go-to national referees of suspected bias.  How weirder that one just pledges allegiance to the new agenda, and suddenly one is both more likely to say something racist in Reid- or Biden-fashion, and yet it is not racist at all."
-- from Victor Davis Hanson's "The New Rules of Racial Tolerance," March 30, 2010; respectfully borrowed from the Never Yet Melted blog

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Real Music: Steve Vai

On April 1, I tweeted the following: "Do kids today realize that the vast majority of the music their generation listens to is complete crap?"  Since then, less than two weeks ago, I have frequently considered the present-day "mainstream" music scene and compared it to the glorious and not-so-distant past.

Although the authenticity of popular music in general has remained suspect, the talent for which music lovers actively search is very much available, even if big record companies no longer offer it to us (as it seems they once did) on a silver platter.  As a result, I am adding another feature to this ever growing blog called "Real Music."

To start, I have selected a genius, a rock icon, and a true virtuoso all wrapped up in a man known as Steve Vai, and I was fortunate enough to catch one of his notable performances on Palladia recently.  Entitled Where the Wild Things Are, I was amazed to witness how Vai fashions each song to constantly build until the instrumental momentum reaches its intended apex.

"Now We Run," the second song of his set, perhaps best typifies everything the man strives to accomplish with his guitar (not to mention a considerable backup band).  So take six minutes and allow yourself to be entertained by a master of his craft.  Enjoy.

Friday, April 9, 2010

On This Day in History: April 9

1860 -- A Frenchman named Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville (1817-1879; aka, Leon Scott) used a phonautograph to create what would eventually become recognized as the oldest audible recording of a human voice.

The phonautograph itself, patented by Scott some three years earlier, was intended to transcribe sound into "a visible medium," but the device had no means for playback.  As a result, the transcriptions would not be heard until computer technology essentially created a way in 2008.  The resulting sound was a barely recognizable 10-second recording of the French folk song "Au Clair de la Lune," believed to have been sung by Scott himself.

1865 -- Robert E. Lee surrenders his Army of Northern Virginia to Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Courthouse, effectively ending the War Between the States.

"Governor, if I had foreseen the use those people designed to make of their victory, there would have been no surrender at Appomattox Courthouse; no sir, not by me.  Had I foreseen these results of subjugation, I would have preferred to die at Appomattox with my brave men, my sword in my right hand."
-- General Robert E. Lee, speaking to former Governor of Texas, Fletcher S. Stockdale, less than one month before Lee's death; as quoted in The Life and Letters of Robert Lewis Dabney, pp. 497-500.

1867 -- Passing by a single vote, the U.S. Senate ratifies a treaty that allows for the purchase of Alaska from the Russian Empire.  Bought for $7.2 million, the area that would become the 49th State (92 years later) came at less than two cents per acre.

1980 -- Saddam Hussein has philosopher Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr executed after three days of torture, essentially for the endorsement of a political philosophy known as Wilayat Al-Umma ("Governance of the people").  Chants of "Long live Mohammed Baqir Sadr!" were chanted by Shi'a guards just prior to Saddam Hussein's execution on December 30, 2006.

1992 -- In one of the great political surprises of the 20th century, John Major's Conservative Party wins an unprecedented fourth general election victory in the United Kingdom.

2003 -- Baghdad falls to Coalition forces amid the American-led invasion of Iraq.  To bloody hell with Saddam Hussein.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

A different angle on Tea Party demographics

I "Tweeted" a couple of days ago about a Winston Group poll that stated 41% of Tea Party activists are registered as either Democrat or Independent.  Shocking as that is for many, a recent piece from the Associated Press about a purportedly surprising Tea Party protagonist and the support he found for his Congressional run in perhaps the most unlikely of places might raise a few more eyebrows still.  Enjoy:

"Among the 37 black Republicans running for U.S. House and Senate seats in November is Charles Lollar of Maryland's 5th District.  A tea party supporter running against House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., Lollar says he's finding support in unexpected places.  The 38-year-old U.S. Marine Corps reservist recently walked into a bar in southern Maryland decorated with a Confederate flag.  It gave his wife Rosha pause.

I said, 'You know what, honey?  Many, many of our Southern citizens came together under that flag for the purpose of keeping their family and their state together,'  Lollar recalled.  'The flag is not what you're to fear.  It's the stupidity behind the flag that is a problem.  I don't think we'll find that in here.  Let's go ahead in.'

Once inside, they were treated to a pig roast, a motorcycle rally -- and presented with $5,000 in contributions for his campaign."

Monday, April 5, 2010

Just Thinking Out Loud: Opening Day

Sporting a White Sox hat to throw the first pitch for the Washington Nationals (who were not playing your beloved Sox) is a major league faux pas.  Honestly, you should have seen the boos coming Mr. President.  You're not that popular anymore.
© Associated Press

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Sunday's Quote: Easter

This is the day in which Christians celebrate the resurrection of our Savior.  The birth, life, death, burial and resurrection of Christ provide the most fundamental elements of the Faith, and yet too often we overlook another profound fact -- that the remaining Disciples could not have gone into the world and spread the Gospel in the face of every possible hardship and obstacle had they not seen the risen Savior.

If this pivotal event does not occur, Christianity dies with Jesus himself.  But, of course, things did not turn out that way, which is why the observance of Easter is sacred.  To expand a bit further, consider an offering from The Prince of Preachers --

"The fact is, the most of us are vastly inferior to the early Christians, who, as I take it, were persecuted because they were thoroughly Christians, and we are not persecuted because we hardly are Christians at all.  They were so earnest in the propagation of the Redeemer’s kingdom, that they became the nuisance of the age in which they lived.  They would not let errors alone.  They had not conceived the opinion that they were to hold the truth, and leave other people to hold error without trying to intrude their opinions upon them, but they preached Christ Jesus right and left, and delivered their testimony against every sin.

They denounced the idols, and cried out against superstition, until the world, fearful of being turned upside down, demanded of them, 'Is that what you mean?  Then we will burn you, lock you up in prison, and exterminate you.'  To which the church replied, 'We will accept the challenge, and will not depart from our resolve to conquer the world for Christ.'  At last the fire in the Christian church burned out the persecution of an ungodly world."
-- from "The Former And Latter Rain," a sermon by Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-1892); delivered July 11, 1869

Saturday, April 3, 2010

5,000 years of Imperial history

Throughout my life I have heard more than I ever cared to hear about the evil, oppressive, conquering faction of European colonialists and the culpability they (and their descendants) should be willing to accept for the supposed degradation of anything they touched.  And from this, I have been equally taken aback upon observing the inconvenient but necessary truths the accusers flatly refuse when challenged to give an account for their own cultural imperfections.

For those interested, visit this link and take 90 seconds to watch a timeline history of the Middle East and Africa.  Consider how one empire perpetually conquers another, and note the points in which the Crusaders and European colonialists finally make their presence known.  You just might learn something.